There is music business in Zim

When you hear the story of piracy in Zimbabwe today it seems justifiable because times are hard and someone has to earn a living. But beyond it all to hear that there are big people involved in the game is a shame. So you want to make money at the expense of the hard work of the artists?

A closer look at this issue will show you that most people don’t quite understand exactly what goes into the making and production of a song as long as they like the melody the vibe they are good to go.

Let me simplify it like this .To compose a song or write a song is the starting point which can take quite some time trying to develop. Others sit down and brainstorm ideas and find themes or topical issues to communicate while others will just in a moment of inspiration put the words together.

Words are the core of any song but then without a good catchy melody the message will not be communicated effectively. So the artistes then have to work on the lines how they will sound, the verse the chorus the bridge and so on.

A lot of hours are put in the practice and preparation to showcase or to record a song. Lets jump to the studio ,it takes at most 10 hours to record a song mix and master it.The recording process is one of those painful experiences where the artistes is continually asked to sing again and again in order to get it right.

Even the professional artistes struggle through a recording session. All the time the artiste is working in the studio must be paid for. The average studio time per hour in Zimbabwe is $30 dollars per hour. So the question is how much does it cost to produce a song besides the hard work?

When it’s been finalised then follow the sleeve designs, CD duplication and printing and distribution. Some have looked at piracy as a worldwide challenge that’s so true but its effect affects our local artistes in a big way due to very few revenue streams.

2003 saw the local music industry opening its doors to raw Zimbabwean talent and giving them the wings to fly the chance to explore their music creative energy . I always refer to this time as it is what has brought us this far, we enjoy all types of music genres and in this effort some have become household names. An industry began ticking in that season as people reacted to the opportunity that had been availed.

One of the worst curses in life is when your parents disown you and don’t give you their blessing no matter what life becomes a struggle.

There has been tremendous growth in our music industry in Zimbabwe on a number of fronts – talk about studios, producers, engineers, music directors, music tutors, promoters and so on. A number of initiatives have been made to try and keep the artistes getting something to compensate for piracy.

One of such initiatives is the upcoming Ngoma Ngairire Zimbabwe Music expo, which is expected to bring together all the stakeholders under one roof to celebrate and consolidate every effort made this far. Against all kinds of challenges the expo s theme is “There is music business in Zimbabwe.”

It’s not a game anymore and unless we come out of our closets and meet with other players in the game and exchange our products, knowledge, experiences we will continue to struggle. It is true that there is music business in Zimbabwe but we have to be deliberate about it. The three-day affair will create a platform for all music stakeholders to display and showcase their products. Today a lot of people would like to take up some music lessons but have no clue where t o go and what options are available.

On a daily basis someone wants to record their music ideas whether for commercial purposes or just to listen to themselves.

Many corperates event managers, would like to invite different performing acts for their events and campaigns but don’t know where to start. The bottom line is that visibility is a very key element to creating business opportunities.

The expo will create a platform to celebrate the diversity of our music heritage in Zimbabwe and is open to every foem of expression. I believe that lack of knowledge about what really goes on in the music industry continues to slow down the business opportunity that should be realized by the stakeholders. One of the main objectives of the expo is to register all the stakeholders and document the Zimbabwean music story from the players themselves.

The day has come when we should be able to converse and talk about our own stars in Zimbabwe. To say we do not have state of the art equipment in Zimbabwe is an understatement, today it’s not unusual to meet someone wanting to hold a function and thinking they should hire from South Africa and yet we’ve got it all here. 2016 is the year to consolidate the efforts of all the stake holders in the music business

And to create strategic partnerships and networks that will prove that there is music business in Zimbabwe.

Richard Kohola aka RK is a radio personality music critic and development expert. [email protected]/[email protected]

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